West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee will attend the coordination committee meeting of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) scheduled next week.
The announcement was made by Union Railway Minister and party general secretary Mukul Roy at the State Secretariat here hours after Defence Minister A. K. Antony met Ms. Banerjee on Saturday.
Mr. Roy said that the meeting between Ms. Banerjee and Mr. Antony went very well. It continued for nearly 80 minutes. Both Ms. Banerjee and Mr. Antony looked satisfied as they emerged from the meeting, although there was no formal briefing.
Ms. Banerjee said later that the Ganga Riverfront Beautification project, the Joka-BBD Bagh Metro project in Kolkata, and the Balason Water Supply project in Darjeeling were discussed at the meeting.
Consent of the Defence Ministry is needed for certain stretches of the Joka-BBD Bagh Metro project route as well as the beautification of the Ganga Riverfront as the land belongs to the Army.
Asked about the outcome of the meeting, Mr. Antony merely said that the Ministry will provide all the necessary support to the State Government on development issues.
The meeting between the TMC supremo and a senior member of the UPA government assumes significance in the face of Trinamool Congress’ continued opposition on issues like foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, forward trade and some other key reforms which the UPA government is trying to put through.
Both the leaders remained tight-lipped on these issues, although speculation was rife that these issues had figured at the meeting.
Senior Congress leaders, including State Congress president Pradip Bhattacharya, met Mr. Antony during the day at Raj Bhavan. During their discussions, the Congress leadership, which has been critical of certain policies of the Trinamool Congress-led government, tried to highlight the areas where they were facing problems with the Trinamool Congress.